Friday, October 26, 2012

Extra Life 2012 Review, A Huge Success

Our team wanted to take this opportunity to again thank all of our family and friends for the support through encouragement and donations for last week's Extra Life 2012 marathon.

Stats from the Event

Originally we had set our goal low because we did not know what to expect.  We had a goal of $250 to start with, which I increased when Nick joined the team to $325.  When the dust settled after the event we had a total of $590 in donations.  This is great for a couple of reasons.  For one we were overwhelmed by how strong our circle of friends and family supported Children's Medical Center.  For two it gives us a solid goal to set next year.  We have a baseline now, and we know what to shoot for in the future (and believe me we plan on doing better than $590 next year for sure).

To put some context to the number, the coordinators at Extra Life told us that each registered participant brings in an average of $100.  That is a good number considering we had over 15,000 registered participants this year, so hopefully that statistic held up.  Based on some rough math and the last number communicated to the teams, the event raised over $1,930,000 across over 15,000 gamers, which is a little over $120 per participant.  Amazingly an estimated half of registered participants may never raise a dollar due to various reasons, so that average is even higher if $0 participants are factored out.

On our team we started three individual fund raising pages.  Right now we sit at $590, so split that by three to get an average of $196.67 per participant, well above the average.  We were also 3 out of 132 participants to play for Children's Medical Center.  Those 132 (or more if more joined after hospital data was provided) pushed Children's Medical Center into the top 25 hospitals by funds raised.  Out of over 2,300 teams, our team ranks in the top 650, which is pretty good for a first attempt.

Lessons Learned

I also wanted to talk about some of the lessons we learned this year, since it was our first try at gaming for charity.  One thing I certainly want to do next year is diversify our hospitals.  We have a lot of relatives and friends in Louisiana, and our hospital was in Texas.  The Louisiana folks still supported heavily, but local community is always easier to rally around.  Expect to see several hospital options from our team next year.

We also had three separate pages for the same hospital.  Even though we had three people actively seeking donations, I want to simplify that next year.  Look for one page per hospital we support.  Our team will discuss that next year when we prep for the event.

We also learned plenty of lessons about playing games for 24 hours.  Surprisingly we did not even come close to our planned games list.  24 hours is not as long as you might suspect when playing engaging games.  We'll simplify our list next year.  Out of my personal list, we played Skylanders, Lego Batman 2, Mario Kart, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode II, Shatter, Halo Reach, Left 4 Dead, Crazy Taxi, and Red Dead Redemption, along with a few Android games Joshua played.  That is roughly 2 and a half hours per game, with the most played games being Lego Batman 2 and Halo Reach. Additionally we learned that the entire team hit a wall at the exact same time (from about 2:30 AM to 3:30AM was when that wall hit for each of us).  We may look to rotate in at that point or take snack breaks or something.  That wall was vicious.

I think one positive I will try to maintain next year was the types of updates I provided via Facebook and Twitter.  I tried not to inundate everyone with random game details, but instead focus simply on what games we were playing at the time and the people who were playing them.  Any feedback on the updates would be welcome, but everything I have heard was pretty positive.

Finally look for a higher goal next year.  We shot low and hit high this year, but we do not want to make it easy on ourselves.  We expect to match and surpass our totals next year.

Final Thoughts

Finally I wanted to let everyone know the donation pages will still be active for a few days more.  We will no longer be actively seeking donations, since our planned event has passed.  However, if you would like to donate feel free to visit our team page here: Shoot Many Bad Guys.  The page will be taken down prior to end of the year for various reasons by the event coordinators.  The slate needs to be cleaned prior to any 2013 events for various tax and reporting reasons.

Thanks again everyone for the support.  In the meantime we plan to utilize this blog to cover video games our team is currently playing.  If you want to read any reviews from our team, feel free to check this space.

Until next time.
- Scott

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Game Time!

We are live and underway with Extra Life 2012!  Follow this space today or any of our players' Facebook or Twitter feeds to get all the details.

There is still time to donate.  Head over to our team page and select any of our participants to donate to Children's Medical Center of Dallas.

-Scott

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Cornucopia Approach to Marathon Gaming

We are just two days away from this year's Extra Life Gaming Marathon!  The Shoot Many Bad Guys team will kick things off just before 8AM on Saturday Oct 20 this weekend.  I wanted to communicate our plans for the big event to our friends and family, since you all have been the ones supporting us as we do our best to bring in donations to the Children's Medical Center.

A lot of other Extra Life participants are very focused in their gaming goals this weekend.  I have heard a lot of teams are streaming games or will be attempting to play through individual games during their marathons.  All of that sounds exciting, but as first timers our team was looking for some variety in our marathon.  What we decided to do was play a plethora of different titles across Microsoft's XBOX 360, Sony's PlayStation 3 (and possibly PS2), Nintendo's Wii and 3DS, PC, and even Google's Android OS for smartphones.  Needless to say that gives us plenty to choose from, and if I feel the need I can always play Sega's swan song system the Dreamcast or hunt down my Neo Geo Pocket.  If anything we will need to be careful not to spread ourselves thin!

I will be tackling some family friendly games during the day with Joshua, including Skylanders for Wii, Lego Batman 2 for XBOX 360, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episodes 1 and 2 on Steam, and even some Pokemon for 3DS.  Look for us to crank up the online multi-player at night with games like Gears of War and Halo Reach.  It would not be October without a little Halloween influence, so in the early morning hours we are planning on some darker titles like Dead Space 2, Limbo, and Left 4 Dead.  Obviously the titles we actually get to play are subject to how our timing with the marathon is going and whether we can keep our eyes open for that long!  This sample list is just to show everyone we have a lot in store for this weekend's event.

We will do our best to post frequently to Facebook and YouTube and encourage everyone to keep an eye out for some fun updates throughout the weekend.  Originally we were considering some self-deprecating updates, but we never got much feedback on those.  Some people think more donors will show up if humiliation is involved, but I guess that depends on who is donating.  We'll see if we can work some humor into our updates, but most importantly we will do our best to convey how grateful we are to all the support we have.  Hopefully our participation, and the event itself, continues to grow and develop year to year.

We are almost ready for game time!
-Scott

Friday, October 5, 2012

Extra Life Wants You ... To Play Games!

John and I had the privilege of participating in a conference call yesterday with the Extra Life event coordinators from Children's Miracle Network as well as some of the folks involved in the event this year.  We heard some interesting facts, and we are excited to share some of the details.

One of the really interesting focal points of the discussion was that Extra Life needs more people.  The coordinators know that a lot of effort is focused on sponsorship and requesting donations, but they wanted to encourage all of us to recruit more gamers to the cause as well.  Once you average out the total sponsorships per participant, it comes out to about $100 per gamer.  Considering that we are over 9,600 gamers strong with 15 days to go, that is a lot of money for the kids!  The goal this year is to find 12,000 gamers by the October 20th event date.

Here's how you can participate.  If you would like to play games for kids in need on October 20th (or any date, more on that in a minute), then all you have to do is create a sponsorship page on the Extra Life website.  The coordinators gave us some great tools to help you get started.  To do a fast registration, follow this link here.  This is the quick registration form that allows you to get started and complete registration when you have more time.  You will receive an email at the address you enter with details on finalizing your sponsorship page.  If you have time to fully register right away, just go to the main page registration flow found here.  If you are looking for a team to join, feel free to join John and I with "Shoot Many Bad Guys."  We are open for anyone who would like to join us, and you can select any hospital in the Children's Miracle Network as your charity (i.e. it does not have to match the rest of the team).  Just select "Shoot Many Bad Guys" from the team list during registration if you need a team, or feel free to start a new team or join another team if you know someone else involved.

Here are some notes on event registration.  The coordinators made sure to emphasize this is an inclusive event.  The core purpose of Extra Life is to generate funds for children in need in the Children's Miracle Network hospitals.  They need everyone's help, and no one will be turned away from supporting the event.  This means that the 24 hour marathon does not have to be 24 full hours if you cannot commit to that.  Some people are not able to commit to that amount of time, whereas some people actually play longer (some folks mentioned full weekend long marathons during the conference call).  Any game can be played for any amount of time, this include board games with your family.  The whole idea is to bring gamers together for a great cause, and any amount of time spent playing games with friends and family for kids in need is welcomed.  The coordinators also made sure to reiterate that if October 20th is not good for you, then pick a different day.  October 20th is the national event and the target sponsorship date, but there is some flexibility.  The sponsorship pages will be available for some time after, but the goal date is October 20th.

If you have any questions feel free to get in touch with me, or, more importantly, if you or someone else wants to get involved, then share the information and encourage them to get started!

- Scott

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How to Donate

I clicked through the donation process last night on the Extra Life website, and I realized some people may have questions or concerns.  It is not entirely trivial, so this blog serves as our "how do I donate?" FAQ.

Q) I really want to support Children's Medical Center.  How do I sponsor your team?
A) Right now we are looking for donations, plain and simple.  We need financial support leading up to marathon day October 20th.  Here is how to access the donation pages.

Scott has a donation page here: Scott's Page
John has a donation page here: John's Page

On either of these pages, you will see a big blue button that says "SUPPORT ME!"  One is found on the right of the screen and one in the middle.  A sample image of the button is below.  When you find this button on our pages, click it to get started.





You may have also noticed we have a team tracking page here: Shoot Many Bad Guys .  This page is a tracking page for how John and I are doing.  If you want to donate from this page, click on John's name or my name at the bottom of the tracking page.  Do not click "Join Team" unless you plan on gaming with us for 24 straight hours in October. =P

Q) Okay I clicked "SUPPORT ME!"  Is the rest of the process difficult?
A) It is not too difficult from here.  You will see some suggested guidelines on donating for our charity.  There are options to give a one time gift or to give monthly gifts for a set number of months.  You are welcome to choose either.  Also you do not have to choose from the preset $12, $25, $50, and $100 levels.  There is a free form, text entry option as well to donate whatever you can at the bottom of the amount list.

You can allow people to see your email/info if you want to be recognized or remain anonymous if you prefer.  You can also select to leave a message to the fundraiser or any donors viewing our pages.  Those options are up to you.

Once you have set your donation and recognition details, all you have to do is enter your billing information.  Children's Miracle Network stands by its website as a secure place to donate funds.  They utilize https protocol and have a privacy policy; both good things.  You may choose to donate via PayPal or any major credit card vendor.  If you choose PayPal, it will prompt you to access PayPal and confirm the funds.  For credit cards simply enter your info on the page.  When you are done click through to the Next Step.

Q) What else do I need to know?  Is this donation tax deductible?
A) Yes, once you enter your details and click through to confirm your donation, you will be given a receipt.  I believe the receipt will go to your email address or you can print the confirmation screen.  Either way use this during tax time if you would like to claim the charitable donation then.

At that point you are done, and we are extremely thankful for your generosity.  If you have any other questions feel free to contact me.  I have comments enabled on this blog post for folks to ask questions here or find me via whatever channel you usually get in touch with me through.

Thanks.
- Scott

Monday, September 17, 2012

What's in a Name, the Introduction

Welcome to the blog!

I decided to set this blog up to follow the Shoot Many Bad Guys team as we work towards raising money for charity and performing in gaming marathons.  I am excited about bringing content to our friends, including YouTube clips, games we are currently playing, and most importantly how to donate to the causes we support.

For the introductory blog, I wanted to talk about our name.  Our name is a pretty cool mash-up of two things that make me smile, video games and my son.  My wife deserves credit for helping me put two and two together.  A favorite game of mine to play is Shoot Many Robots for PC by developer Demiurge Studios.  Now my son is pretty fond of robots, so he prefers shooting just the "bad guys" as he puts it.  In fact my son was playing Pew Pew 2 from developer Jean-Fran├žois Geyelin on my HTC One X when he shouted "SHOOT THE BAD GUYS!"  My wife looked at me after that and said "hey what about Shoot Many Bad Guys for a team name."  I called John to tell him, and we both agreed it was perfect.

Our objective as a team is to raise money for charity.  More specifically in the near term we want to raise money for the Extra Life 24 hour gaming marathon this October 20th.  All proceeds go to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, and our funds in particular will go to Children's Medical Center in Dallas, TX (http://www.childrens.com/).

To donate, navigate to either of our donor pages or the team page on the Extra Life website as seen below, click the blue "SUPPORT ME!" button on the page, and follow the donor instructions:

My Team (Scott, Joshua) - http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=34293
John's Team (John, Pat) - http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=34302
Shoot Many Bad Guys Home tracking page - http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.team&teamID=9160

Donating is secured by the foundation, and again all proceeds go to the hospitals in need.  Gaming is fun alone, but it is even better when for a great cause.

As we approach October 20th (1 month away!) I will post information on the games we plan on playing as well as our stretch goals.  Our team goal right now is $250 overall, but I know we can do better than that.  If we do better than that, John's team and my team might do some goofy stuff in front of a camera for YouTube.  Everyone likes a laugh right?  Well help us beat our goal!

Until next time.
- Scott